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Ole Miss adds gymnastics

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com


GAS CITY – A group of girls from Mississinewa have competed on an area club gymnastics team. Now, they will represent their school on the mat, beams and vault.

The Mississinewa school board approved the addition of an Indiana High School Athletic Association-sanctioned gymnastics team Monday night.

And the season begins right away. The team, comprised of three girls, will have the opportunity to compete in an invitational ahead of sectional at the end of this month, according to Chanse Young, Mississinewa athletic director.

Though they will represent the Indians, the girls will train and practice at Mid-America Gymnastics in Marion and be coached by Randy Holt.

Mississinewa will not have enough girls for a full team, though each can advance in sectional individually. Young said the team will compete in the Wawasee Sectional. According to the athletic director, Holt is willing to coach a full team if enough interest warrants one.

The team will be comprised of girls only. IHSAA does not have boys sanctioned gymnastics.

“From my standpoint, it was an opportunity to get more of our student-athletes to be engaged in our school,” Young told the school board. “Theses young ladies are very excited. They are wanting to represent our school and an opportunity to compete in a sport they enjoy.”

Young said Mississinewa did have a gymnastics team sometime either in the 1970s or 80s.

Superintendent Tab McKenzie gave the board his approval for the new sport.

“I think in light of the philosophy we've evolved to, that we want to provide opportunities to every student, no matter how unique the sport or extracurricular (is) … I think this situation meets the expectations and guidelines we've set for ourself,” he said.

School board President Wayne Gaskin said, “It's probably the best situation that I can see,” noting that the school will not have to pay for equipment or facilities.

Board member Chris Cunningham asked if a vote was needed Monday night or if more time could be had to look over paperwork associated with adding the new team.

McKenzie and Young informed the board that if they took that route it would probably eliminate a chance for the team to compete ahead of sectionals.

“I'd like to see these kids be able to compete at that sectional …,” said board member Michael Crouch. “... So I'm going to make the motion to approve this gymnastics proposal.”

The motion was approved.

The next Mississinewa school board meeting is Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. The board will hear a presentation from Ole Miss PreSchool. The preschool was named a level four pre-k provider from Paths to QUALITY. The preschool now has national accreditation and is one of 33 public schools in the state to earn the rating.